Building a More Sustainable Bank: Santander UK Publishes New Strategy

May 13, 2019—Santander UK has launched a new strategic framework for Sustainability with the release of its 2018 Sustainability Report. The Sustainability strategy reflects Santander’s ambition to be a responsible bank and to further integrate social and environmental considerations into business decisions. This report highlights the importance of transparency in responding to key environmental, social and governance issues and how Santander is bringing its purpose to life – to help people and businesses prosper.

“I aim to ensure that our priorities deliver long-term value for our business, the customers we serve and communities in which we operate. These segments are entirely interrelated, as it is simply not possible to build sustainable success for one and not the others. Good business depends on a strong, healthy society – and vice versa.”

Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer, Santander UK

2018 performance highlights include:

  • Creating a thriving workplace
    • A 20% increase in investment in training, focusing on flexible, digital training providing skills for the future.
    • Santander doubled its paid paternity leave, following publication of its ‘Equal Lives’ research in collaboration with Business in the Community.
  • Sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion
    • Supported over 7,900 small businesses and start-ups through the Breakthrough programme, including subsidised interns through the Santander Universities scheme, and provided £20.7m of growth capital financing.
    • Piloted a Specialist Support Team with 7,500 branch colleagues to help vulnerable customers and those with complex needs.
  • Developing Santander’s approach to climate change
    • Achieved joint first ranking for renewable financing in the UK and participated at a Group level in a UNEP FI pilot project to implement TCFD recommendations.
    • Reduced internal carbon emissions by 11.5% year-on-year and electricity use by 4.9%.
  • Community investment
    • Launched a new partnership with Alzheimer’s Society aiming to make Santander digital banking services dementia friendly.
    • Santander volunteers reached almost 72,000 students, up by 87%, with educational workshops on money management, careers and digital safety.
  • Inclusive digitalisation of services
    • Launched a Digital Investment Adviser to allow anyone to receive personalised investment advice from £20, and an online mortgage hub, helping 14% more first time home buyers get on the property ladder.
    • Continued to add features and enhance the security of Santander’s mobile banking app, resulting in an iOS rating of 4.8.
  • Fighting financial crime
    • Launched a new Anti-Financial Crime Training Academy to build a culture of anti-financial crime in the organisation.
    • Published case studies of impact through collaboration, including identifying human trafficking and modern slavery in high risk UK industries such as construction and hand car washing.

There is a lot of work ahead, but Santander believes it is on the right track. In 2019, Santander will focus on working collaboratively with all stakeholders and setting targets to measure progress, as it continues to integrate the Sustainability strategy into the business.

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